U.S., Israeli clocks on Iran action "ticking at different pace"

President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Monday, March, 5, 2012, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

(CBS/AP) JERUSALEM — Israel's defense minister said differences remain with United States over Iran's dispute nuclear program, despite efforts by Israel and the U.S. to come to an agreement on the issue.

Ehud Barak told a meeting of his Independence Party that "the clock is ticking at a different pace" for the U.S. and Israel, suggesting disagreements remain on the timeline for any attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

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Earlier this week, Israeli officials said the U.S. and Israel were working closely in hopes of getting the countries' positions in sync, holding close discussions with American officials over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program.

Meanwhile, a U.S. lawmaker has said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became visibly angry during an August meeting with the U.S. Ambassador because the American official's position on Iran had left him "at wits' end," according to the Reuters news agency.

Reuters reports that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, who was at the meeting, told a Michigan radio station this week that Netanyahu was angered by what he deemed the Obama administration's lack of clarity on how to confront Iran. Rogers is a Republican.

Barak, who spoke hours after meeting the U.S. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James A. Winnefeld, reiterated that Israel reserves the right to carry out a strike unilaterally. He added, however, that there was "no doubt" about Washington's "readiness to face the challenge on every level."

Israel believes time is running out to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, while the U.S. opposes any Israeli military action at the current time.

Israel and the U.S. both believe, however, that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the allegations, and says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes like producing energy and medical isotopes.

Part of the dispute over timing is related to military capabilities. Israel's timeline for military action is shorter than that of the United States, which has far more powerful bunker-busting bombs at its disposal — which would be necessary to try to puncture Iranian facilities buried underground — than Israel does.

Israel views a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat, citing Iranian calls for Israel's destruction, the country's development of missiles capable of striking the Jewish state, and Tehran's support for Islamic militant groups hostile to Israel, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

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